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Nadal gives Spain Davis Cup advantage

Rafael Nadal celebrates his opening victory over Tomas Berdych in the Davis Cup final.
Rafael Nadal celebrates his opening victory over Tomas Berdych in the Davis Cup final.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Nadal defeats Tomas Berdych to give Spain the lead in the Davis Cup final
  • The world No.2 secures a 7-5 6-0 6-2 win to make Spain firm favorites to retain their title
  • The result is a welcome return to form for Nadal after he lost all three matches in the World Tour Finals
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(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal rediscovered his top form at the right time to brush aside Tomas Berdych in straight sets and give Spain the early advantage in their Davis Cup final defense against the Czech Republic in Barcelona.

Nadal -- who failed to win in three attempts in the ATP World Tour Finals in London last week -- edged a tight first set then went on to win 13 consecutive games before wrapping up a 7-5 6-0 6-2 win.

It was just the lift the Spanish supporters were hoping for ahead of the second rubber due to pit David Ferrer against Radek Stepanek, and made the hosts firm favorites to retain their crown.

The notoriously inconsistent Berdych acquitted himself well in a tight first set, his big first serves keeping Nadal at bay until the 11th game when the Spaniard grabbed his third break point chance by forcing Berdych to hit a forehand long.

After that there was no stopping Nadal, who blasted through the second set and went 4-0 up in the third as Berdych wilted and even the crowd in the Palau Sant Jordi became muted such was the one-sided nature of the affair.

Berdych rallied a little, finally winning a game when Nadal forced a backhand wide, and serving out again to reduce the deficit for 5-2 before Nadal typically made no mistake in serving for the match.